Is your s*x life safe? Do you know you can expose yourself to cancer through unhealthy sex life?Do you know that observing the ABCs of sex education helps you in making informed choices through a knowledge and skills-based approach to reducing the incident of HIV, other Sexually Transmitted Infections STIs, and unwanted pregnancies, through behavior change? The ABCs of sex is as follows: A= Abstain; B= Be faithful; C= use Condoms, and it represents the basis of prevention of sexually transmitted infections.
In the views of a Consultant, Radiation Oncologist, Dr Omolola Salako, about 30 percent of cancers can be prevented through lifestyle changes. Salako who is Executive Director, Sebeccly Cancer Care a pioneer of foundational cancer support, says observing the ABCs of sex would prevent contracting viruses that are sexually transmitted and expose one to some cancers.
Spreading of viruses
Salako said some viruses such as Human Papiloma Virus, HPV, Human Immuno deficiency Virus, HIV and Hepatitis B virus, HBV that are spread through sex are known to cause some certain cancers.
“HPV causes cervical cancer, HIV is known to cause several cancers, while Hepatits B virus can cause liver cancer.” Speaking last week at a media forum to kick start activities to mark Sebeccly’s decade of impact on cancer care, support and prevention in Lagos, she observed that for Nigeria to win the war against cancer, the right information should be pushed out to the public.
“To prevent cancer we must apply healthy lifestyles. Habits such as not smoking, reducing alcohol intake, having a safe sexual lifestyle and most especially abstaining from sex if you are single and if you cannot abstain, or you are married, you can use a condom.
There is also the need to reduce exposure to the sun for the light-skinned, have a balanced diet and take more fruits, less carbohydrates, less fats , less sugar and salt. “Knowledge is power, if we are going to fight cancer, everyone including government and other stakeholders must sit at a roundtable and agree on the best way forward to push out information to patients.
We need all hospitals to have call centres. Every patient should have access to information not necessarily going to the hospitals. The websites of these hospitals should be functional. “Attitude of Nigerians to cancer is surrounded by fear and stigmatisation. It still remains a taboo. In as much as we have moved from one centre to eight,the breast cancer patients are still coming in at Stage III or Stage IV.
Therefore information that will help our patients at the right time remains very crucial. Patients continue to come in late because they are not aware.” Sebeccly has supported over 4,000 patients and promoted cancer awareness to over 20 million Nigerians. In the next 10 years, the Centre is expected to have supported over 20,000 patients. “The goal is to have 50 percent discount on cancer care. Currently, radiotherapy on average in hospitals is between N100,000 and N150,000 for breast cancer patients.
We are looking at a situation in which it will cost less. “Sebeccly, in another decade would have garnered so much statues and become a reference centre where all doctors involved in cancer care will have to come in to learn one or two things about caring for cancer patients,” she remarked
Tochukwu Ononiwu, Acting Head, Brand & Communication, Fidelity Bank Plc who are partners to Sebeccly, expressed satisfaction with the partnership over 10 years said the bank would continue to support more patients. The first Radiation Oncologist in West Africa and Nigeria, Prof. Josbert Duncan, regretted that after 40 years of setting up radiotherapy centres in the country, Nigeria is still deficient in cancer treatment. He urged government to enable those that cannot afford treatment have access.